Sternal Variation: Anatomical-Forensic Analysis
The aim of this study was to analyze the extent and uniqueness of anatomical variations of the sternum bone, to assess its applicability for forensic analysis, especially for individual human identification.
Methods and Findings
Evaluations involved 501 computer tomography scans performed at the Medical Radiology Center, Manaus city, Amazonas, Brazil, and 427 skeletons belonging to the Collection of Identified Human Skeletons of the Center for Studies in Forensic Anthropology (CEAF), of the University of Pernambuco (UPE), Pernambuco, Brazil. Forms of morphological variations were evaluated, including the presence of foramina, fissures, and incomplete total or partial fusions, as well as forms of xiphoid process termination, and the presence of surgical sutures. Overall, summing computed tomographic images and skeletons, the sternal foramen was present in some 23% of samples, with a greater proportion in males (14%), while in females the frequency was 8.6%.
The qualitative analysis of the sternum bone is simple to apply and represents an important potential source of information in a human identification process.
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